Canada’s Top 100 highest-paid CEOs for 2016

BlackBerry’s John Chen tops the list with $89 million, but the list’s average take-home declined slightly this year

BlackBerry CEO John Chen

BlackBerry CEO John Chen received the largest total compensation in Canada in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ most recent ranking of the highest-paid CEOs. (Frank Gunn/CP)

Updated for 2017! Top 100 Rankings by Year: 2017 2016 2015 2014

John Chen of BlackBerry was the highest-paid CEO in Canada in the most recent annual ranking by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, with total earnings of more than $89.7 million in 2014, the most recent year for which the data is compiled. Chen’s pay marks a 2% increase over the previous year’s rankings, when Onex Corp. CEO Gerald Schwartz occupied the top spot with $87.9 million.

Chen is an outlier, making ten times as much as the average among his peers on this ranking: the average total compensation for a Top 100 CEO was $8.96 million. While the CCPA, a left-leaning think tank, points out that this is 184 times the average Canadian salary, it does represent a slight decrease of 2.6% compared to the previous year. And since the ranking draws on 2014 data, it doesn’t account for last year’s precipitous drop in oil prices, which may in future drag down compensation for energy sector bosses, who are well-represented on this list.

The Montreal Economic Institute, a right-leaning think tank, also points out that the total annual pay to the top 100 CEOs, at slightly under $1 billion total, is tiny compared to the size of the economy overall and in comparison to the size of the federal government.

Each year the ranking tends to be a bit of a rorschach blot depending on who’s looking at it. Some see overpaid fat cats riding high on the labour of their comparatively underpaid employees; others see fair compensation for high-stakes decision-makers with billions of dollars and thousands of jobs riding on their shoulders. As we’ve pointed out before: it’s complicated.


Canada’s Top 100 Highest-Paid CEOs:

* “Other Compensation” includes bonuses, shares, options, pension and any other payments. Full details at CCPA.

Rank NameCompanyBase SalaryOther Compensation*Total
1John ChenBlackberry Ltd$341,452 $89,373,567 $89,715,019
2Donald WalkerMagna International Inc$358,924 $23,058,350 $23,417,274
3Gerald SchwartzOnex Corporation$1,435,694 $19,700,252 $21,135,946
4Hunter HarrisonCanadian Pacific Railway Ltd$2,421,592 $15,210,577 $17,632,169
5Mark ThiererCatamaran Corp$1,325,256 $1,935,978 $16,330,467
6Donald GuloienManulife Financial Corp$1,438,720 $13,045,488 $14,484,208
7John ThorntonBarrick Gold Corp$2,760,950 $11,500,513 $14,261,463
8Paul WrightEldorado Gold Corp$1,514,000 $12,274,702 $13,788,702
9Bradley ShawShaw Communications Inc$2,500,000 $10,844,105 $13,344,105
10Steven WilliamsSuncor Energy Inc$1,361,731 $11,060,445 $12,422,176
11Daniel Daviau (CEO North American Capital Markets)Canaccord Genuity Group Inc$494,325 $11,248,566 $11,742,891
12Stanley MarshallFortis Inc$1,200,000 $10,356,689 $11,556,689
13George CopeBce Inc$1,400,000 $10,080,250 $11,480,250
14Edmund ClarkToronto-Dominion Bank$1,500,000 $9,936,575 $11,436,575
15Michael PearsonValeant Pharmaceuticals International$2,106,818 $9,241,711 $11,348,529
16James SmithThomson Reuters Corp$1,711,789 $9,171,086 $10,882,875
17Pierre DionQuebecor Inc -Cl B$1,056,667 $9,784,571 $10,841,238
18Jeffrey OrrPower Financial Corp$4,237,000 $6,382,245 $10,619,245
19Gerald MccaugheyCanadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce$1,500,000 $9,052,908 $10,552,908
20Brian PorterBank Of Nova Scotia$1,000,000 $9,256,242 $10,256,242
21Gordon NixonRoyal Bank Of Canada$1,126,027 $9,106,247 $10,232,274
22Louis VachonNational Bank Of Canada$1,050,354 $9,097,274 $10,147,628
23Linda HasenfratzLinamar Corp$593,960 $9,483,768 $10,077,728
24Donald LindsayTeck Resources Ltd$1,493,500 $8,483,357 $9,976,857
25William DowneBank Of Montreal$1,594,979 $8,364,218 $9,959,197
26Doug SuttlesEncana Corp$1,042,191 $8,786,409 $9,828,600
27Steve LautCanadian Natural Resources$678,462 $8,825,040 $9,503,502
28Joe NataleTelus Corp$1,041,260 $8,386,299 $9,427,559
29Charles JeannesGoldcorp Inc$1,499,858 $7,913,750 $9,413,608
30Claude MongeauCanadian National Railway$1,187,338 $8,154,269 $9,341,607
31Miguel De La Campa (Executive Co-Chairman And Director)Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp$1,388,257 $7,902,602 $9,290,859
32Ronald Pantin (CEO & Director)Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp$1,388,257 $7,865,729 $9,253,986
33Serafino Iacono (Executive Co-Chairman And Director)Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp$1,388,257 $7,808,840 $9,197,097
34Jose Fancisco Arata (President And Director)Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp$1,388,257 $7,790,437 $9,178,694
35Guy LaurenceRogers Communications Inc$1,200,000 $7,789,148 $8,989,148
36Scott SaxbergCrescent Point Energy Corp$1,081,885 $7,897,144 $8,979,029
37Stephen WetmoreCanadian Tire Corp$1,250,000 $7,632,931 $8,882,931
38William DoylePotash Corp Of Saskatchewan$1,387,764 $7,305,183 $8,692,947
39Michael RoachCGI Group Inc$1,300,000 $7,345,302 $8,645,302
40Marc PoulinEmpire Co Ltd$1,000,000 $7,575,955 $8,575,955
41Brian FergusonCenovus Energy Inc$1,350,000 $7,086,635 $8,436,635
42Paviter S. Binning (President)Weston (George) Ltd$1,075,000 $7,303,285 $8,378,285
43Paul RollinsonKinross Gold Corp$1,237,568 $7,066,730 $8,304,298
44Paul MahonGreat-West Lifeco Inc$964,231 $7,248,745 $8,212,976
45Asim GhoshHusky Energy Inc$1,704,500 $6,488,265 $8,192,765
46Russell GirlingTranscanada Corp$1,300,008 $6,802,000 $8,102,008
47Craig H. MuhlhauserCelestica Inc$1,000,000 $7,020,827 $8,020,827
48Calin RovinescuAir Canada$1,400,000 $6,599,951 $7,999,951
49Pierre J. BlouinManitoba Telecom Services Inc$850,000 $6,932,241 $7,782,241
50Dean ConnorSun Life Financial Inc$1,000,000 $6,735,938 $7,735,938
51Sean BoydAgnico Eagle Mines Ltd$1,500,000 $5,990,430 $7,490,430
52Rich KrugerImperial Oil Ltd$881,391 $6,604,599 $7,485,990
53Bruce FlattBrookfield Asset Manage$662,628 $6,683,686 $7,346,314
54Ravi K. Saligram (CEO)Ritchie Bros Auctioneers$537,801 $6,711,073 $7,248,873
55Alain Bedard (President/CEO/Acting CFO)Transforce Inc$1,050,000 $5,717,859 $6,767,859
56André DesmaraisPower Corp Of Canada$1,125,000 $5,631,890 $6,756,890
57Steven K. Hudson (CEO)Element Financial Corp$1,025,000 $5,702,493 $6,727,493
58Charles MagroAgrium Inc$1,151,524 $5,518,125 $6,669,649
59Mark DavisChemtrade Logistics Incom Fund$729,167 $5,923,570 $6,652,737
60Daniel SchwartzRestaurant Brands International$773,066 $5,867,084 $6,640,150
61Paul Desmarais, Jr.Power Corp Of Canada$1,125,000 $5,412,816 $6,537,816
62Peter MarroneYamana Gold Inc$1,432,701 $4,937,776 $6,370,477
63John FlorenMethanex Corp$844,750 $5,516,169 $6,360,919
64Gregory LangNovagold Resources Inc$765,596 $5,576,563 $6,342,160
65Clifford T. DavisNevsun Resources Ltd$675,000 $5,611,804 $6,286,804
66Geoffrey MartinCcl Industries Inc$975,642 $5,276,470 $6,252,112
67Michael H. Mccain (President & CEO)Maple Leaf Foods Inc$1,030,125 $5,003,298 $6,033,423
68Al MonacoEnbridge Inc$1,118,000 $4,810,132 $5,928,132
69Francois OlivierTranscontinental Inc$950,480 $4,975,700 $5,926,180
70Dori SegalFirst Capital Realty Inc$720,000 $5,203,550 $5,923,550
71Pierre BeaudoinBombardier Inc$1,400,906 $4,295,044 $5,695,950
72Rupert Duchesne (CEO)Aimia Inc$872,692 $4,780,044 $5,652,736
73Jose BoisjoliBrp Inc$957,375 $4,623,488 $5,580,863
74Jay S. Hennick (CEO)Firstservice Corp$1,748,514 $3,802,908 $5,551,422
75Thomas Harrington (CEO - Ds Services Of America)Cott Corporation$31,842 $5,519,300 $5,551,142
76Robert A. GannicottDominion Diamond Corp$1,020,208 $4,473,349 $5,493,557
77Ellis JacobCineplex Inc$1,000,000 $4,351,480 $5,351,480
78Nick Orlando (Former President & CEO)Martinrea International Inc$687,500 $4,529,409 $5,216,909
79Bradley Nullmeyer (President)Element Financial Corp$845,625 $4,340,005 $5,185,630
80Edward SonshineRiocan Real Estate Investment Trust$1,200,000 $3,911,004 $5,111,004
81Tim GitzelCameco Corp$936,400 $4,162,697 $5,099,097
82Charles BrindamourIntact Financial Corp$869,846 $4,192,341 $5,062,187
83Randy SmallwoodSilver Wheaton Corp$899,617 $4,162,065 $5,061,682
84Richard D. McbeeMitel Networks Corp$768,457 $4,272,161 $5,040,618
85Galen G. WestonLoblaw Companies Ltd$1,000,000 $4,023,755 $5,023,755
86Robert CardSnc-Lavalin Group Inc$975,775 $3,986,587 $4,962,362
87Scott ThomsonFinning International Inc$926,273 $3,913,426 $4,839,699
88Stephen MacphailCi Financial Corp$750,000 $4,080,000 $4,830,000
89Kevin A. NeveuPrecision Drilling Corp$711,851 $4,048,789 $4,760,640
90Christopher HuskilsonEmera Inc$875,000 $3,744,204 $4,619,204
91Alain BouchardAlimentation Couche-Tard$1,351,875 $3,245,853 $4,597,728
92Dawn L. Farrell (President And CEO)Transalta Corp$950,000 $3,569,488 $4,519,488
93John M. Cassaday (President And CEO)Corus Entertainment Inc$1,000,000 $3,513,142 $4,513,142
94Marc ParentCae Inc$854,167 $3,636,652 $4,490,819
95Jason D. Waugh (VP)Canadian Energy Services & Technology Corp$290,000 $4,156,230 $4,446,230
96James Riddell (President)Paramount Resources Ltd$446,250 $3,962,270 $4,408,520
97Paul ConibearLundin Mining Corp$787,592 $3,613,084 $4,400,677
98Rejean RobitailleLaurentian Bank Of Canada$598,361 $3,792,711 $4,391,072
99Glenn ChamandyGildan Activewear Inc$1,019,231 $3,350,176 $4,369,407
100Peter J. Blake (Former CEO)Ritchie Bros Auctioneers$387,455 $3,893,131 $4,280,586

* “Other Compensation” includes bonuses, shares, options, pension and any other payments. Full details at CCPA.

Get our daily briefing on innovation, leadership, technology & the economy.
Weekdays at 6 AM ET. Learn More »

5 comments on “Canada’s Top 100 highest-paid CEOs for 2016

  1. Note to editor: Review Other Compensation of #5 Mark Thierer. Math does not add up!

  2. Why are Bell and Telus CEOs exempt from this list? They earn millions as well. Telus CEO is EXTREMELY wealthy from his tenure at Telus

  3. Maybe the author should have read the Article Canadian Business published in November 2013 , They would have realized that as mention in the article ” $1 million base salary and $2 million performance bonus, the Waterloo, Ontario, company will give him 13 million BlackBerry restricted share units, worth $85 million based on the current stock price, that will VEST OVER 5 YEARS ” .

  4. And here is the 6-K that explains the remuneration of J Chen at Blackberry States ” Mr. Chen’s remuneration will include base salary of U.S. $1,000,000 and performance bonus of U.S. $2,000,000. Mr. Chen will also be granted 13,000,000 restricted share units vesting as to 25% on the 3rd and 4th anniversary dates of his employment, with the balance vesting on the 5th anniversary.”

  5. Interesting to see that No’s 31 thru 34 are all Senior Exec’s with Pacific Rubiales Energy”. E recent (July 15 2016) article advises “Pacific Rubiales says it will continue to reduce debt and operating costs as it sells non-core assets. It will also seek opportunities in Mexico with Alfa SAB as a partner. Unless there’s an increase in the price of oil, the focus will be on paying debt, Pacific Rubiales said in an e-mail.”
    Perhaps the debt reduction should start with elimination of at least 3 of the highest paid exec’s?